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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Farm characteristics and management routines related to neonatal porcine diarrhoea: a survey among Swedish piglet producers

Larsson, Jenny; Fall, Nils; Lindberg, Maria; Jacobson, Magdalena


Background: In recent years reports from a number of countries, including Sweden, describe problems with diarrhoea in newborn piglets despite the use of previously effective preventive measures. This seemingly altered disease pattern of neonatal porcine diarrhoea (NPD) warrants investigations on the magnitude and manifestation of the problem. The aim of the present study was to investigate the herd-level prevalence of NPD in Sweden and to describe disease characteristics and intervention strategies used in affected herds. To obtain this information a questionnaire was developed and sent out to 170 randomly selected herds. The presence of NPD in the herds was specified as "Yes", "No" or "Occasional cases" during the preceding year.Results: A response rate of 58% (98/170) was achieved. The total prevalence of farmer experienced NPD, including occasional cases was 79.6% (95% CI 70.6-86.4%). Most herds (85%; 83/98) employed maternal vaccination against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). The most common treatment regimens used in affected herds included antimicrobials only (43%; 18/42) or antimicrobials in combination with supplementary fluids (33%; 14/42). Trimethoprim in combination with a sulphonamide was the drug of choice in 57% (24/42) of the affected herds whereas the remaining herds used a broad range of other antimicrobials (neomycin, amoxicillin, fluoroquinolones, penicillin, and tylosin). Furthermore, the risk of experiencing NPD was found to be higher in herds with >200 sows (OR = 4.0) compared to herds with <200 sows and in herds where more ambitious efforts (such as providing supplemental colostrum or practicing split-suckling) were made to save weak-born piglets (OR = 4.4).Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate that Swedish farmers commonly experience NPD in their herds, often despite vaccination against ETEC. Considering the extent of this problem and its contribution to antimicrobial usage, improving alternative control strategies for NPD needs to be prioritized.


New neonatal porcine diarrhoea; Neonatal porcine diarrhoea; Prevalence; Risk factors; Pigs; Swine; Treatment; Prevention

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2016, Volume: 58, article number: 77